LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wayne Routledge of QPR shoots and scores past Goal keeper Keiren Westwood of Coventry during the npower Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City at Loftus Road on January 23 2011 in London England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Wednesday evening finally saw Sunderland win the race for the in-demand Coventry goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood, who will join the Black Cats on a free transfer at the end of the month.
With Manchester City, Everton, Wolves, Portsmouthand Leicester all reportedly interested in the man between the sticks it was Steve Bruce that got his man. But what does this mean for Sunderland, Craig Gordon and Simon Mignolet? We take a closer look at Keiren's transfer...
So what do we know about the twenty six year old shot stopper?
Well, Westwood's footballing tale began at Manchester City, where he never managed to make a first team appearance playing second fiddle to David James and Nicky Weaver. Following a brief loan spell with Oldham Athletic, Westwood made the move to Carlisle. Keiren however didn't figure much at his new club either until the 2005/06 season when he was entrusted with the number one shirt, a position he held until his form prompted Coventry to bring Westwood to the Ricoh Arena.
Jon Colman, a sports writer and Carlisle United correspondent, obviously saw a lot of Westwood during his spell with Carlisle and is in a better position than most of us to judge, has been sharing some of his thoughts through the medium of Twitter, all of which are very promising:
"Rarely seen a CUFC player who looked so clearly destined for the Prem as Westwood. Now he's got his chance. Expect him to thrive."
"Expect a few saves a season that make you double-take. Haven't watched him properly since 2008 but reckon he's got the lot"
An ever present during his debut season with Coventry, Westwood's form was also enough to earn him call up to the Republic of Ireland squad for a friendly against Nigeria in June of 2009. He was also named in the Championship PFA Team of Year, not a bad way to impress at a new club I'm sure you'd agree.
The 2009/10 season saw Westwood's impressive form continue as he went on to win both the Player's Player and Player of the year awards. Keiren was quickly making a name for himself as one of the best goalkeepers outside of the Premiership.
Having turned down Coventry's offer of a new contract, the Vultures began to circle above the Ricoh Arena and it was only a matter of time before Westwood was to move on, making a dream move to the Premiership, in the end choosing our beloved Sunderland over the other would be suitors.
I managed to track down some Coventry City fan's reaction to the transfer courtesy of Coventry Banter who had the following to say of our new goalkeeper:
"He showed exceptional ability as a shot stopper and certainly commanded his area. Most of all he had the ability to provide confidence to the defenders around him. He also could intimidate forwards so rarely lost out on one-on-ones"
Promising stuff I'm sure you'll agree.
Whilst it would appear that we are getting a great deal here for a talented Keeper, what does that mean for our number one, Craig Gordon?
The club have been quite open with the media in the respect that they will not open new contract talks with the Scottish international until he can prove his fitness following his ongoing struggle with injuries following breaking his arm. Whilst Craig joined Sunderland with high expectations, he was always going to struggle to win over some sections of the crowd based upon the price tag he came with. Couple this with some patchy form and Gordon's position as the club's number one has never been under more threat, especially with the emergence of the Belgian youngster, Simon Mignolet.
So whilst questions regarding Westwood's future may have been settled, questions surrounding his new team mate and fellow goalkeeper Craig Gordon have possibly just got more pertinent.
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